8-String Guitar Tips and Tricks! | GEAR GODS

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what's up dear mortals Trey Xavier here

today I am bringing you my top tips and

tricks for the 8 string guitar if you

were considering picking up the 8 string

guitar you need to know it is a wily

Beast you might think that all you're

doing is adding two extra strings but

really what you're adding is a whole

host of complications to your rig to

your playing style to your tones to your

budget it gets kind of crazy and today

I'm gonna try and save you a ton of

trouble here I have the quart KX 508 m/s

it's a multiscale eight string guitar

the first thing that we are going to

talk about is scaling it's probably the

most important thing that comes into

play right off the bat when you move up

to eight strings if you have never

played a guitar with more than six

strings or tuned lower than a flat you

may have never ever even considered

guitar scaling all scale length is is

the length of the string the distance

between where it leaves the nut and

enters the bridge the saddle

specifically so why is that so important

well it's important because of something

called string tension string tension is

just how tight the string is when it's

tuned up to the pitch that you wanted at

if you've ever tried to take a guitar

and tune it way down without upping the

string gauge then you have experienced

string tension problems what happens

then is that the pitch goes wild when

you hit a note it won't hold the tuning

that you're trying to reach and it feels

really awful to play the string gets

real floppy and it just feels like mush

or you could wind up with the opposite

problem if you have too much string

tension then what happens is that the

string is too hard to Bend

it's too stiff it sounds really harsh

and kind of overly twang that can also

be a problem if you've ever looked

inside under the lid of a grand piano

then you have seen this principle at

work the high notes are little tiny

short strings and the low notes are

great big long ones and the bigger the

grand piano the longer they are and

that's because string tension is very

important when it comes to pitch so in

order to have good string tension it's

best to have short thin strings for the

and long thick strings for the low notes

so you can see how this could become a

problem on the eighth string guitar very

quickly because of the huge range of

notes all the way across the fretboard

we have to be very careful with the

string tension if the scale length is

really long that's really ideal for

these lower strings especially this low

f-sharp string where it gets really

floppy really fast but if we have that

then the high strings are gonna be kind

of hard to play really stiff some common

scale lengths for 8 string guitars are

like 27 inches 28 inches and then

basically all the way up to 30 30 is a

lot it's it's a very very long scale

length for a guitar the high strings on

a 30 inch scale guitar

I have played one before and they are

very very very stiff and then of course

that string tension on the low string is

amazing and it sounds great feels great

playing a solo on that is a mission it's

a chore it feels terrible I've also

played a twenty six point five inch

scale eight string guitar and that was a

different kind of nightmare where

everything was just too floppy on the

low end the high end felt great there is

of course a third option sort of a

compromise between a long scale length

and a short scale length and that's a

multi scale guitar on the low string we

have a 28 inch scale which gives us

super ideal string tension on this low

f-sharp and then a twenty six and a half

inch scale on the high E string which is

way way better than having all the way

across 28 inches because that's an inch

and a half less of crazy high string

tension that this high E would have to

have this creates as ideal of a playing

situation on an eighth string guitar as

I have personally experienced and I

highly recommend that you check out and

look into multi scale 8 string guitars

first that leads us very nicely into our

next topic which is string gauge string

gauge and scale lengths are married

together forever because scale length is

going to partially determine how thick

of guitar strings you're going to need

because like I said the longer the scale

length the better your string tension is

going to be for your low strings and the

stiffer it'll be on your high strings so

you're going to really have to take that

into consideration when you're buying

strings there are

a ton of great eight string guitar

string sets available from the major

manufacturers I did however discover

that there is an awesome one from Ernie

Ball which is an 82 nine set which is

great for standard tuning that will give

you awesome string tension on most scale

lengths so like I said on this guitar

the court kx5 oems we've got a 28 and 26

and a half so on the top end a 9 gauge

string in standard tuning is gonna work

great because that's the lightest that I

would personally want to go anything

lighter than that and it starts to get

so thin that you almost can't bend it

without it breaking pretty much

immediately and because 26 and a half is

longer than a standard scale length

we're already at a higher tension no

matter what so 9 and up I would say is

is the minimum tends to probably be fine

that's gonna be still a little bit

tighter once you get to start getting

into 11s and 12s I hope that your tuning

your guitar down a bit to compensate

then for the low string a lot of eight

string guitars come equipped with way

lighter string gauges than I would

recommend so if you're buying a brand

new guitar and it comes from the

manufacturer and the low string is

really floppy it's probably just because

they sent you something that is that

it's not high enough string tension they

haven't really quite caught up yet so I

highly recommend at least at least

something like a 76 if you're in

standard f-sharp tuning preferably an 80

or maybe an 84 if you can get a hold of

it if you're getting a custom set of

course you can you know it'll be

whatever you want but it's gonna take a

little bit of trial and error so you're

gonna have to be patient you're gonna

have to spend a little bit of money up

front to find out what your ideal string

gauge is because even if you follow my

advice and you get something that's at

least about an 84 your low f-sharp you

might find that the rest of them aren't

exactly what you want and it's no matter

what it's gonna be personal preference

which means that it has to be a certain

amount of trial and error


that brings us right to our next topic

which is tuners and tuning the major

problem that I have run into with eight

string guitars and tuners is that many

of them are not large enough to

accommodate a thick enough string this

is something that you should look into

before buying an eight string guitar

like I said for your low string you're

gonna want at least an 80 gauge string

and if the tuner that comes on the

guitar cannot accommodate it you're

gonna be really sad you can with many

guitar tuners drill them out you can

drill out the hole that the string goes

into with locking tuners that can be a

hairier ordeal and if you're just not

handy then I wouldn't even try it I

would take it to a professional one

thing that I've done before is to order

just one extra tuner for the low string

that I was sure would fit the kind of

gauge string that I was looking for

usually you will not have that same

problem with any of the other tuners

usually they'll accommodate basically

any possible size string that you would

normally use for the other six or seven

strings in general I also recommend

locking tuners if you can get them if

for no other reason that they're gonna

make your life so much easier when

you're changing strings this guitar

comes with some locking tuners and

changing the strings with an absolute

snap it's definitely worth a little bit

of extra money to make your life so much


as far as tuning your eight string

guitar more strings means more

possibilities for different kinds of

tunings the standard tuning on an eight

string guitar is generally f-sharp be e

a d g be e so that's standard tuning on

a six string guitar here right just

regular old ei d g/b e and then we've

added a B string a fourth down from

there and then a fourth down from the B

is an f-sharp probably the next most

common tuning on the eighth string

guitar is drop e that's where you take

your low f-sharp string and you drop it

down a whole step to an e that's a cool

tuning because it gives us three e

strings and six octaves of

ease on the same guitar check this out


this gives us pretty easy access to

octaves which will just be two strings

apart on the same fret


this also makes it easier for a bass

player to follow along with your riffs

because if you're in drop e and they're

an east standard on a four string bass

then you both have a low E string to go

to the next most common tuning and one

of the coolest and most useful ones is e

EI EI d g/b e and what that does is it

allows you to play the same thing on

either these two strings or these two

strings and get the same notes but in a

different octaves for example all I had

to do was go up two strings and play the

exact same thing and I got the same

thing but an octave higher to achieve

this tuning all we have to do is tune

the lowest string down a whole step to

eat and then tune the seventh string

down a whole step to a another tuning

worth checking out is the Meshuga tuning

Meshuga of course the progenitors of

eighth string guitar in metal they tune

down everything down a half step so it's

F standard another thing that's about to

become crucially important is muting

both with your right and left hand as

well as muting behind the nut and

potentially behind the bridge depending

on the guitar that you wind up with if

you have like a too nomadic style bridge

kind of like a Gibson like a Les Paul

where there's excess string coming off

the back of the bridge that's definitely

gonna need to be muted as well as having

something behind the nut here I've got a

groove gear fret wrap but you can use

foam or a sock not very fashionable

either way but something to keep this

excess string noise from happening

because if you play something you're

gonna get a little bit of that ringing

into your tone and there's nothing that

you can do about it performance wise

unless you have a spare sixth finger

that you can keep here to mute this

stuff and keep it from ringing out it's

just gonna happen it's gonna be in there

all the time if you play music with a

lot of stops even if you have a good

gait sometimes it'll still be in there

and even if you have a good gait that

only stops it when you're not playing

it's still happening it's still in your

tone while you're playing it's just not

all that loud if I turn off the gate in

this tone that I'm using right now you

can hear that ringing across the empty

space and the playing you don't want

that and if nothing else this reduces

your need for a gate at least a little

bit when it comes to the performance

aspect of muting basically you need to

be very very hyper aware of the muting

on your right hand much more so than

anything else and you also have to be

aware that if you're used to playing a

six string guitar if you're going from

six to eight you're probably used to

wrapping your thumb over the top to mute

the low e-string sometimes for certain

things for example like a D chord just

like a regular old cowboy D chord I

generally will wrap my thumb around and

mute the low E string but you can't

really do that on an eighth string

guitar unless you have freaky-deaky long

fingers which I do not

performance-wise one thing you're gonna

have to get used to with the muting is

muting much more so and much more

carefully with your right hand palm when

you're playing high up notes another

thing that I've noticed that's really

important when it comes to right hand

muting is chunky metal palm muting on

the sixth string especially like an open

thing I can get away with palm muting

basically right on top of where the

string meets the saddle and that gives

us a nice tight chunky thing with a good

amount of low-end but not too much once

we get down to the eighth string and try

that same thing


it's not really tight anymore it's it's

really loose and open and just has too

much low-end and we don't want that if

what we're going for is a nice tight

sound so you have to start moving closer

to the nut to get that same effects that

we got on the sixth and seventh strings


and you have to be a little bit more

gentle with how hard your palm muting

because if you push too hard on it

the pitch will really go wild and it'll

go sharp and then you'll wind up

changing the pitch of the note that

you're trying to play just because your

palm muting it and you don't want that

I'll show you what it sounds like as I

move my palm from right on top of the

saddle to a little closer to the

pickup's see if you move too far and

pushed too hard


it goes up almost a half step this will

be less of a problem if you have a

really good string tension but even if

you do it's definitely something that

you're gonna have to consider and

practice to master another thing you're

definitely gonna have to be aware of is

your left hand muting there's a lot more

real estate to cover on an eight string

guitar neck it's a lot wider there's

more strings so I like to sort of tilt

the neck of my guitar up a little bit

so that I can really get underneath it

and flatten out my finger quite a bit

whereas if I was playing it like this my

finger is very curved you're letting

these strings ring out if you either

just through sympathetic vibration of

playing the guitar they'll just start

sort of quietly ringing out and then get

louder and louder or if you accidentally

bump them while you're playing a riff

you don't want that so really get

underneath it and play with good

ergonomics the most obvious thing about

the eight string guitar is that it adds

more range to the guitar but what isn't

quite so obvious is where it adds that

range a lot of people just think about

the added low range without losing any

high range but to me the most important

and coolest thing about it is that you

add range a

the neck anytime you have to shift

positions when you're playing guitar

you're wasting time it's inefficient and

it's just annoying so when you're adding

lower strings what you've got is the

opportunity to move this way instead of

this way here's a lick that I wrote for

an eighth string guitar song that I did

a long time ago and it'll demonstrate

how I can use that range going this way

so that's a lick that I don't think I

could have played on a six or seven

string guitar because in order to get

all the notes in there at the speed that

I wanted it to I would have had to do a

couple of position shifts and it just

couldn't have done it in time any time

we add a string lower on the guitar if

we're going down in fourths which is

typical we basically add five notes to

our low range but the way that you can

also think about it is that we're taking

these four notes or five notes including

the open string and we can move them up

to the fifth fret still access them just

like we did before but now in a more

convenient place and now with an eighth

string guitar we've done that twice that

means we've added eight easily

accessible notes to every single

position of the guitar that means that

you can play scales in one position that

have tons of notes in them for example

if I play this three notes per string

scale going across the fret board

starting on the eighth string

well how many freakin notes it has in it



this means you can do massive arpeggios

across the fretboard next up let's talk

about guitar tone for the eighth string

guitar of course no matter what tone is

SuperDuper subjective it's gonna be


based on the style of music that you

play your personal preferences

all kinds of stuff and I can't really

tell you what it should sound like but I

can tell you that in my personal

experience it's kind of counterintuitive

for lower notes for notes this low you'd

think oh you need a lot of bass because

they're low notes but the fact is

they're going to have bass and there's

nothing that you can do about it really

you can cut it out but coming out of the

guitar it's gonna have a lot of low-end

already what's gonna make it stick out

in a mix is more high-end generally I

find that my eighth string guitar

patches are a lot brighter than my six

and seven string patches if you have a

really super bright tone when you're

playing on a six string guitar it can be

kind of annoying but for super low notes

like this one if you take all the treble

out of it it's just not gonna cut

through the mix at all so when you're

dialing in your eighth string guitar

patches really for any genre I would

consider if you're gonna be playing a

lot of really low notes to turn up the

treble or the brightness on whatever amp

setting or pedal or whatever it is that

you're using it also helps to turn the

bass down a pretty considerable bit

especially because if you palm mute on

that eighth string and there's too much

bass you're going to fart out your

speakers and it's gonna sound bad and

because you just need it to be a bit

tighter for that string to sound like

anything other than mud you might be

going for mud you might like a nice

super sludgy tone you might need more

bass that's gonna be up to you but for

me personally I like it a lot less Basie

and a lot brighter the lower um tuned

last but certainly not least the

string guitar is for so much more than

just Genting on the low string okay you

can just get a really long scale six

string and do the same thing and save

yourself a lot of trouble you know

impress your grandma now and again play

some blues or something


so I'm sure that you've seen a lot of

eight string guitar players playing with

a clean tone and doing a lot of the old

tippet tapping with two hands playing

some pretty complex and interesting

melodic things and I think the reason

for this is pretty simple on the eight

string guitar unlike on guitars with

less strings what we have is the

possibility to divide it up into like a

very usable bass and melody sections

basically you could use these four

bottom strings exclusively for playing

bass lines or bass notes and then these

four exclusively for playing chords or

melodies that's pretty unique and to me

that really just blows the doors off

this idea by having the range across the

fretboard it kind of gives your hands

the space that they need to do the two

separate things that they're gonna do

alright guys thank you so much for

watching this eight string tips and

tricks video hopefully you learned

something today and got something out of

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